Laura Odden Quaintance

When I think of singing, I think of the impact it has had on my life, from my first memories until this very day.  In high school, we had a course called “Lifetime Sports.” It introduced us to a number of activities that we could be a part of long after high school.  Have we ever considered that singing can somewhat fit in that category, too? A lifetime of singing? How many of us choose to make it a part of our lives as long as we can?

I have the honor of directing a community choir as part of my workload. The ironic part of this role is, I believe I learn more from these community members than they do from me (though many of them kindly disagree). Their rich histories of music, unique stories through life, diverse career paths, and ages that vary from mid twenties to eighties creates for a sundry ensemble. However, one thing continues to connect us all: singing. We cherish our rehearsals and the time we have to learn from one another. I feel an immense honor preparing for these rehearsals, dare I say even more than I do with my other ensembles. I direct them differently, and realize that these rehearsals are cherished times for all of us. I am also always finding ways to connect my college ensembles with these singers; to learn from them. To sing with them. To enhance their educational experience through these adults who may have seen the world just a little longer than they have. When I knew I was writing this article, I asked some of my singers why they chose to sing as an adult. Here are some of their answers:

“I continue singing because it is what I do. It’s my form of meditation and relaxation.”

“Life without music? Soulless. All arts have always been a part of my life, even in childhood. Art encourages community cohesion, it reduces isolation, increases self-awareness, encourages us to gather as a society.”

“I love to sing and be a part of a choral group. I like the challenge of choral works. I also like sharing the joy of music. I like keeping my vocal range and vocal chords “tuned up” too!”

“I have been a musician all my life and a vocal music teacher so singing is in my blood. Singing in a CHOIR is simply the best, partly because I love harmony. I’m an alto and wouldn’t trade it for the melody any day.”

“When I was in college I was part of elite choirs and I loved it! It is a wonderful outlet to continue to challenge my brain and to keep it “sharp.“ Plus, I have met some amazing friends who also love to sing!”

“Art, and in particular music, is an emotional catalyst. It insists that I engage my emotions. It is catharsis. It requires discipline and dedication and rewards that discipline and dedication. It helps me move my life in a positive direction.”

Do you know an adult whose life could be enriched by singing? Encourage them to look for ensembles around them. We can all be advocates for life-long singing.  Not sure if there is an ensemble near you? Musical Minnesota’s website links you to ensembles in the Greater Minnesota Area. It is a great tool for someone looking for an ensemble to join. I’ve shared the link at the end of this article. Check it out.

Some of my new singers are intimidated to begin singing again, but not one of them has regretted their choice. They realize how much it enhances their life. In this sometimes chaotic world, we owe it to ourselves to do things that bring us joy. Singing can be just that for many people. Are you still singing? If not, I encourage you to. It’s good for the soul.

So You Want to Sing for a Lifetime: A Guide for Performers: Smith, Brenda: 9781538104002

Everyday Voice Care: The Lifestyle Guide for Singers and Talkers: Cazden, Joanna: 9781458443182:

Musical Minnesota: Mapping the Community Music Ensembles in the state of Minnesota